Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Early Review of The Tudor Throne (Mary & Elizabeth)

Special thanks to Allison for posting a review of The Tudor Throne by Brandy Purdy (Mary & Elizabeth by Emily Purdy in the UK) on her blog, The Musings of a Book Junkie. You can read it at

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Director's Cut A Theda Bara Mystery by Christopher DiGrazia

Toby Swanson, a pioneer in the newborn field of movie makeup, just wants a job when he is hired by the Fox Film Corporation to emphasize the allure of their latest star, Theda Bara, instead he ends up joining forces with her to solve a murder.

The year is 1914, and though it hasn't even started filming yet, "A Fool There Was" is already the hot topic, predicted to be the movie sensation of the year. Leading the cast is the movies' first true sex symbol, Theda Bara, the dark eyed and haired, pale skinned, femme-fatale, known as "The Vamp" who devours men's souls and drains their virility and bank accounts. But after a series of deaths and other calamities, Fox decides to call the whole thing off, and Theda's big chance at stardom and immortality is dashed, unless...

"The Vamp" who is actually a nice, down to earth (except for her belief in Tarot Cards and Reincarnation) Jewish girl from Cincinnati named Theodosia Goodman, "Theo" to her friends, asks her smitten makeup artist to help her save her movie. And together, aided by fellow cast members, May Allison and Edward Jose, the quest for the truth takes them everywhere from movie sets to fashionable New York nightspots, a bank in Baltimore, and down into an underground church crypt where the scions of a once illustrious family are buried, and into abandoned subway tunnels. With cameos from Harry Houdini, Rudolph Valentino before Hollywood beckoned, and songstress Sophie Tucker,

The Director's Cut is a fast-paced and fun tale of murder, mayhem, and the early days of moviemaking. Mr. DiGrazia perfectly captures the sights and sounds of the era, with authentic slang and cultural references, and a bow to the morality of the day when it comes to the risque. He deserves a big round of applause for his first Theda Bara mystery and I can't wait for him to roll out the red carpet and present the next one.

To learn more please visit his website

You can order the book at Amazon and also the dvd of the movie that plays a prominent part in its pages, "A Fool There Was" in which Theda Bara "uttered" (it's a silent film so actually the title card said it for her) the immortal line "Kiss Me, My Fool!"

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

And The Winner Is...

Tabby decided to be generous and picked two paper balls out of the cup, so we have two winners--Carol and Grams! I have emailed both to get their addresses and will be shipping their books out asap. Thanks so much to everyone who entered.
Bound by blood, torn by devotion... In the wake of King Henry VIII's death, England's throne is left in a precarious state-as is the peculiar relationship between his two daughters. Mary, the elder, once treasured, had been declared a bastard in favor of her flame-haired half-sister, Elizabeth, born of the doomed Anne Boleyn. Yet the bond between the sisters was palpable from the start. Now reinstated, Mary eventually assumes her place as queen. But as Mary's religious zeal evolves into a reign of terror, young Elizabeth gains the people's favor. Gripped by a tormenting paranoia, Mary is soon convinced that her beloved Elizabeth is in fact her worst enemy. And the virginal Elizabeth, whose true love is her country, must defy her tyrannical sister to make way for a new era... A brilliant portrait of the rule of "Bloody Mary" and her intricate relationship with Elizabeth I, the adored "Virgin Queen," here is a riveting tale of one family's sordid and extraordinary chapter in the pages of history. Please note this book is published in the UK as MARY & ELIZABETH under my British pen name Emily Purdy.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Missing Without Trace In Ireland by Barry Cummins

This book tells the stories of seven people--five women and two children--whose mysterious disappearances remain unsolved to this day. Some may be connected, the work of a serial killer perhaps, others are most likely isolated cases, but all have one thing in common--all left behind grieving family and friends gnawed by the anguish and uncertainty of not knowing a loved one's fate.

Between March 1993 an July 1998 six women aged between 7 and 26 vanished in Ireland, all most likely abducted and murdered. Despite exhaustive investigation by the Gardai (Ireland's police force) and extensive media coverage, searches of land, water, buildings, and arrests and interrogations of possible suspects, all six disappearances remain unsolved.

Annie McCarrick was the only American among the missing women, of Irish-American heritage, she fell in love with Ireland, it's people and culture, and decided to make her home there and continue her studies to become a teacher. On the day she disappeared she set out to take a walk in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains. If witnesses who later came forward are correct, Anne was last seen in Johnnie Fox's Pub listening to the Jolly Ploughmen in the company of an unidentified man in his mid-twenties. Annie was never seen again and her remains have never been found.

Jo Jo Dullard vanished on a cold November night while trying to hitch a ride home after spending the day in Dublin and missing her bus. She paused at a phone booth to call a friend and explain her predicament, she asked her friend to hold on when a car stopped, then came back on the line to say she had a ride, then Jo Jo was gone...forever.

Fiona Pender was a beautiful blonde model, seven months pregnant, and eagerly anticipating her baby's birth when she inexplicably vanished form her flat in Tullamore. There were no signs of violence or a struggle at her flat, no one reported seeing her leave, she was just gone and, to this day, remains among the missing.

Ciara Breen was a month shy of her eighteenth birthday when she snuck out her bedroom window one night to meet someone, most likely an older man her mother did not approve of. She was never seen again. To compound the tragedy, twelve hours after her disappearance, her mother received the results of medical tests confirming that she had cancer. Ciara would never know this or that her mother had arranged a surprise visit to Disney Land in Florida for Ciara's 18th birthday.

Fiona Sinnott was the only one of the missing women to leave behind a child, an 11 month old daughter named Emma, when she vanished. Though Fiona had been the victim of an abusive boyfriend in the past, and had to seek medical treatment for these injuries multiple times, it remains unknown if domestic violence played a role in her disappearance. At the time, she was complaining of not feeling well, of pains in her arm and chest, and had told her baby's father, from whom she was amicably separated and remained good friends with, that she planned to go into town to see the doctor that day, but, if she did indeed set out to see the doctor, she never arrived at his office.

The case of Mary Boyle remains Ireland's oldest unsolved missing persons case. The six, almost seven, year old girl vanished on a March afternoon in 1977 when she turned back, balking at the depth of the mud, while following her uncle across a muddy field. She has not been seen since.The two most likely theories are that Mary was either abducted or she might have stepped into what locals call a "swallyhole" deceptively firm ground which conceals a deadly bog that can swallow a person whole.Despite extensive searches no trace of Mary was ever found, not even the wrapper from the packet of sweets she had been eating at the time.

The second missing child story is that of Philip Cairns who vanished in 1986 while walking back to school after going home for lunch. Somewhere between his home in the suburbs of Dublin and his school, a fifteen minute walk, he vanished. A week later his schoolbag was found deposited in a lane a short distance from his home, intentionally placed there,though it is not known if this was done by whoever took Philip or someone who found it but did not want to get involved for whatever reason. This person has never come forward, though authorities still hope they will as this might provide a vital clue.

Though the stories chronicled in the pages of Missing are sad, it is a brisk and interesting read about these mysterious disappearances that still haunt many, whether they be family and friends of the missing, investigators, or simply those, like myself, who have an interest in these things, all of whom still hold out a candle of hope that these mysteries may be solved someday and the question marks about their fates will be erased.